Based on research conducted by State Farm and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, here are some quick tips for parents of teen drivers.

Set the example
One of the toughest and most important rules to adhere to is “practice what you preach.” This starts long before your teen ever gets a license. If you don’t want your teen talking on a cell phone or eating while driving, don’t do those things when your teen is riding with you. Always buckle your seat belt before you start the car. Make sure you’re not speeding or tailgating. Try not to drive if you’re angry or tired.

Practice, practice, practice
The single most important thing you can do to help your teen stay safe on the roads is to allow as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible.

Keep it interesting
Varying the routes, time of day, and driving conditions will ensure the new driver in your family gains confidence in a wide range of driving situations.

Gradually introduce new privileges
Once young drivers receive their license, it may be tempting to let them drive where they want, when they want, and with whomever they want. But research shows that night driving, driving with passengers, and driving without a destination are all factors that contribute to high crash rates. Remember to set ground rules before your teen driver is licensed.

No passengers for at least six months
Research shows that a teen’s risk of being involved in a crash increases exponentially with each peer passenger in the car. Until you’re sure your teen can manage passengers and other distractions responsibly, insist that no driving be done unless an adult is present. Then, start by allowing only one passenger and gradually increase the number of teen passengers allowed in the car. Teach your teen that it’s okay to tell passengers, “Please don’t distract me while I’m driving.”

Daytime driving for at least six months
Teens’ crash risk increases at night. For the first six months, your teen shouldn’t drive after 10 p.m. After this, gradually allow later driving – perhaps by half-hour increments.

It’s best to wait on buying teens their own car
It’s not recommended that teen drivers be immediately given a car of their own. For the first year or so, share the family car (a later-model, mid-sized to large sedan is safest). This allows parents to control access to the vehicle – which makes it easier to agree on conditions of use (wearing a seat belt, no passengers, no cell phone, responsibility for gas/repairs, etc.).

Teach your teen how to “scan” for hazards
One of the most common problems young drivers have is scanning their surroundings for potential hazards. The tendency is to look only as far as the car in front of them, in effect “blinding” them to road conditions further ahead, and reducing their space to react to hazards. During your supervised driving practice, remind the driver to keep an eye on the traffic several cars ahead and to the sides, looking for brake lights, traffic signals, roadblocks, pedestrians, or emergency vehicles.